Like it or not, your period is a part of your life. And you’re
probably well aware of what is and isn’t normal for your flow. While most women
have some variation with their periods, if something is off down there, you
That said, it can be hard to know whether things are just weird
one month or if you’re experiencing something that should be flagged for your
Just know this: Your period can tell you more than you realise.
“Periods are a pretty good indicator of gynaecological health,”
says Dr Christine Greves, a gynae at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and
Basically, if something is wrong down there, it’s likely that
your period will be affected.
Again, sometimes periods just get out of whack and it’s no
biggie. But it’s a good idea to let your doctor know if you experience any of
1. You’re regularly passing big blood clots
Having the odd clot during your period is normal, but
if you’re consistently having blood clots that are large (think: golf
ball-sized), it could be a sign of uterine fibroids, non-cancerous growths that
can develop in your uterus, says Dr Jessica Shepherd, an assistant professor of
clinical obstetrics and gynaecology and director of minimally invasive
gynaecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
Read more: This explains
why you get clots in your period blood
2. You repeatedly soak a tampon or pad in less than an hour
This is more than annoying: Bleeding this heavily could be an
indication that you have polyps in your uterus or uterine fibroids, says Dr Shepherd.
If you experience shortness of breath and dizziness with heavy
bleeding, you need to see a doctor ASAP, Dr Greves says.
This could be a sign that you’re anaemic and may have a hormonal
imbalance that needs to be corrected in order to stop or slow the bleeding.
Read more: 6 things
your period could be telling you about your health
3. Your period lasts longer than seven days
There are plenty of things that can make this happen, including
stress,Dr Shepherd says, and some women
just have long periods. But if it’s not normal for you, a longer-than-normal
period can also be due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and
“In a worst-case scenario, it could be uterine cancer,” she
Basically, you don’t want to ignore this.
Read more: 7 reasons your period might be late – other than pregnancy
4. Your cycle is less than 20
Again, everyone’s cycle is different but if you’re suddenly
having short cycles, it could be a sign of ovulatory dysfunction or a thyroid disorder, Dr Greves
It could also indicate PCOS and uterine polyps, which can cause
“weird, irregular bleeding”, Shepherd says.
Read more: Your vagina might be itchier on your
period – here’s why
5. You missed a period but aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding
If you’ve been under a lot of stress or are doing a lot of
high-intensity exercise, that can cause you to miss a period, Dr Shepherd says.
But thyroid issues can also make your period stop. If you miss a
period and don’t have pain, you’re probably OK to wait it out. But if you keep
missing periods, Dr Greves says you need to call your doctor.
It could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance that needs to be
This article was originally featured on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
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